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This is long overdue but I didn’t forget the vitamin series that I started.  If you recall from the post Vitamins:  Part I (Overview), I explained the difference between water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins.  I also provided a list of the water-soluble vitamins and their primary food sources.  With today’s post, I’d like to share more information on their chief functions in the body, recommended intake and symptoms of deficiency and toxicity. 

Here’s the scoop…vitamins are organic, essential nutrients that your body requires in small amounts to perform specific functions.  Water-soluble vitamins consist of the 8 B vitamins and Vitamin C. 

NOTE:  Be aware of deficiencies, but just because you believe you’re experiencing a particular symptom, don’t go running to the Vitamin Shoppe for a supplement.  The best thing to do is to consult with your physician to determine if you do, in fact, have a deficiency.  In the case of vitamins, more is not better.  The presence of vitamins attests to their power, however, excessive intake can cause harm.  This is more so just for your information and to help you understand what to look for in a multivitamin.      

  •  THIAMIN (B1)
    • Chief Function – Energy metabolism and nerve function
    • Recommended Daily Intake (RDA) – 1.1 mg/day for women; 1.2 mg/day for men
    • Deficiency Symptoms – Beriberi; enlarged heart; muscular weakness; anorexia
    • Toxicity Symptoms – none know
  • RIBOFLAVIN (B2)
    • Chief Functions – Energy metabolism
    • RDA – 1.1 mg/day for women; 1.3 mg/day for men
    • Deficiency Symptoms – inflammation of membranes in mouth, skin and eyes; Ariboflavinosis; sore throat; cracks around mouth
    • Toxicity Symptoms – none known
  • NIACIN (B3)
    • Chief Functions – Energy metabolism; supports nervous system, GI tract
    • RDA – 14 mg NE/day for women; 16 mg NE/day for men; (NE = niacin equivalents)
    • Deficiency Symptoms – Pellagra; diarrhea; dermatitis; dementia
    • Toxicity Symptoms – Niacin Flush; liver damage; impaired glucose tolerance
  • BIOTIN
    • Chief Functions – Glucogenesis; fatty acid synthesis; breakdown of fatty acids & amino acids
    • RDA – 30 micrograms/day for adults
    • Deficiency Symptoms – rash; hair loss; neurological impairment
    • Toxicity Symptoms – none known
  • PANTOTHENIC ACID (CoA)
    • Chief Functions – Synthesis of lipids, neurotransmitters, steroid hormones and hemoglobin
    • RDA – 5 mg/day for adults
    • Deficiency Symptoms – GI distress; neurological disturbances
    • Toxicity Symptoms – none known
  • VITAMIN B6
    • Chief Functions – Amino Acid metabolism; immune function; cognitive performance; steroid hormone activity
    • RDA – 1.3 mg/day for adults (19-50 yr)
    • Deficiency Symptoms – depression; confusion; dermatitis; convulsions
    • Toxicity Symptoms – irreversible neurological damage; skin lesions
  • FOLATE/FOLIC ACID
    • Chief Functions – Converts B12 to its coenzyme form; DNA synthesis; reduces risk of neural tube defects
    • RDA – 400 micrograms/day for adults; women of child-bearing age should take care to get enough Folate
    • Deficiency Symptoms – Impaired cell division and protein synthesis; anemia; GI tract deterioration; glossitis
    • Toxicity Symptoms – B12 deficiency; delayed diagnosis of neurological damage
  • VITAMIN B12
    • Chief Functions – Regeneration of amino acids; DNA & RNA synthesis; nerve fiber sheath
    • RDA – 2.4 micrograms/day for adults
    • Deficiency Symptoms – Pernicious anemia; megaloblastic anemia
    • Toxicity Symptoms – none know
  • VITAMIN C (Ascorbic Acid)
    • Chief Function – Defends against free radicals (antioxidant); synthesis of collagen, carnitine, hormones and neurotransmitters, enhances iron absorption
    • RDA – 75 mg/day for women; 90 mg/day for men; +35 mg/day for smokers
    • Deficiency Symptoms – Bleeding gums; pinpoint hemorrhages; muscle degeneration; Scurvy
    • Toxicity Symptoms – GI distress; cramping; diarrhea; gout; kidney stones
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